I liked Jack Layton a lot, so much that I took our boys to hear him talk in this last election campaign.
What I liked most about Jack (aside from his killer ‘stash) was his playful sense of humour (he often had that devilish twinkle in his eye), his genuine down-to-earth sincerity, his heart-felt concern for the little guy, his convictions on the environment, and his courage to stick to his principles. He was also the best retail politician we’ve seen in a long time.
It is no small feat to be highly skilled “politically”, but to also be super-bright, well-educated (with Ph.D), and to be genuinely concerned with doing the best for others. A winning combination that conceivably could have seen him form a minority government in the next election if it not for the awful disease that is cancer.
Often you get the sense that politicians talk about hope and change and being optimistic etc. because everyone knows it is politically expedient – i.e. a big strategy, yet with Layton it was the real deal – the guy was apparently exactly the same in front of the camera as he was behind it. A truly positive guy who always searched for a way to make things better for other people, not himself.
I know many people will be sad at his passing. My heart goes out to them all.
Here is an assortment of clips showing Jack as the fun and enlightened person he was. (If you watch part of the leaders debate, check out the short clip from 9:45 to about 11:00 – he asks a very real question of Stephen Harper and you can feel his sincerity and impatience with the politics of politics.)